The 8 Most Misguided Sci-Fi Versions Of 2008
The Source:The 1955 Isaac Asimov short story Franchise.
The Prediction:In the futuristic year of 2008, a supercomputer named Multivac will lead our proud electronic democracy by selecting the most demographically representative U.S. citizen, asking them some questions, and using the information to select the next President.
Accuracy:Not so hot. 2008 saw the election of an intelligent, well-spoken black man. For Obama to accurately represent the average of all American citizens, heÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂd have to gain about fifty pounds, take a few knocks to the head, and get Mexican citizenship. Add to that the fact that we stopped naming computers ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ(fill in the blank)-vacÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ about the time the Beatles were roaming the earth, and youÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂve proven once again that Asimov was little more than a doddering, irrelevant old codger. Besides, the idea of a voting machine asking you some vague questions and then telling you whoÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs President is so 2004. IÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂm just waiting for Diebold to stop beating around the bush and declare itself Supreme Overlord in 2012.
TheyÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂve Taken Our Freeedooom!
The Source:The post-apocalyptic box office bomb Doomsday.
The Prediction:In the futuristic year of 2008, the plot of Escape From New York will have sex with the plot of Outbreak and Scotland will get quarantined from the rest of the world due to a plague (or at least, thatÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs what weÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂll say). Then theyÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂll almost immediately resort to the plot of Mad Max.
Accuracy:About as accurate as John BobbittÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs urine stream after a couple of stiff drinks (too soon?). As evidenced by the tartan and cabers that litter our nationÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs beaches and clog our storm drains, the filthy Scots still roam free. My guess is weÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂll have to wait till Connery knocks off before we can put the fences up. IÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂm not saying we canÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂt take him, IÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂm just saying, do we want to risk it? Meanwhile, the only deadly viral outbreaks that gained prominence this year were Bird Flu and that bee disease. And even if they both swept the globe, whatÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs the real loss? Teaching our children about sex will become slightly more difficult (although you could easily use a donut and hot dog), and we wonÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂt get stung or shat on anymore. Although if all the bees were wiped out, it could lend some credence to the next predictionÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ¦
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With Our Powers Combined
The Source:The forward-thinking ecological sci-fi thriller
The Prediction:In the futuristic year of 2008, all plant life on Earth has died out due to our gross ecological mismanagement, and the last remaining forests are being housed in giant space domes circling the rings of Saturn. Then we decide we didnÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂt want them after all, and order them jettisoned from their moorings and detonated with nuclear charges (just to make sure they donÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂt somehow survive, return to Earth, and seek revenge, I imagine).
Accuracy:On par with Colonel Stauffenberg. First of all, our plant life hasnÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂt entirely died out yet; weÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂve still got several acacia groves, a sopping handful of plankton and a very lovely squash vine,
Suicide is PainlessÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ¦And Affordable!
The Source:My lover, my mother, that glistening God we mortals know as
The Prediction:According to some barely-glimpsed signage in FuturamaÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs pilot episode, Stop NÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ Drop Suicide Booths not only exist legally by 2008, they are already considered ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂAmericaÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs Favorite.ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ
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Initiate Maximum Warp
The Source:Larry Niven and Jerry PournelleÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs novel The Mote in GodÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs Eye.
The Prediction:In the futuristic year of 2008, mankind makes the single greatest scientific breakthrough in its history when it perfects faster-than-light travel, sending Einstein spinning in his grave and countless generations of spacestronauts hurtling through the black void in search of aliens to impress.
The Big Sleep
The Source:Alan E. NourseÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs 1957 novel Rocket to Limbo.
The Prediction:Okay, so maybe mankind wonÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂt perfect faster than light travel by 2008. But what they will do is launch a ship into space towards the nearest star, and expect the doomed astronauts aboard to reproduce and live in their quarters for many generations while it makes its 350-year journey to Alpha Centauri. I mean, how can you go wrong with a prediction that assumes weÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂre cold-hearted pricks?
Accuracy:Shmaccuracy. Yes, predicting that itÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂll take a 2008 spaceship 350 years to travel the 4.37 light years to Alpha Centauri is slightly less ridiculous than imagining weÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂll be hitting Warp 1, but it still assumes a ship capable of traveling a minimum of four million miles an hour. As I may have already mentioned, thatÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs about 8 times faster than the fastest human ship, which was a probe, not a giant space hotel with room and facilities enough to keep a little mini-civilization going and (presumably) not resorting to inbreeding. Although I still think the premise that weÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂd be willing to doom many generations of children to a cold, sterile life in a tin can hurtling through space in exchange for the slim possibility that theyÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂd crash into a star is probably dead on.
Here We Go Again!
The Source:Sentimental, teen-friendly TV show IÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂve never seen, DawsonÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs Creek.
The Prediction:In the vague recap of the series finale of DawsonÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs Creek my least interesting friend gave me over drinks and me telling him to shut up, I seem to remember that star James Van Der Beek (AKA Dawson, ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂThe DawsÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ or ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂDawes ButlerÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ) returns to his hometown in 2008 after becoming a successful television producer and creator of the fictional series
Accuracy:Only in the sense that we still breathe Oxygen. The last memorable thing James Van Der Beek did was play himself getting the shit beaten out of him in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Since then, heÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs bounced around from sitcom guest appearance to sitcom guest appearance, most recently One Tree Hill, or DawsonÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs Creek: Remix. Meanwhile, 2008 primetime television is populated by counter-terrorists, smoke monsters, and spiritually conflicted robots from space. Any show based on a show we already watched ten years ago would have to under go some major changes. IÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂm thinking ice powers for Zoey, the fictional
The Blue Bomber
The Source:The original 1987 NES Mega Man.
The Prediction:In the futuristic year of 2008, battle robots with sophisticated powers like the ability to throw rocks and cut you, led by an evil scientist named after a cartoon coyote, will enslave a neon neo-Tokyo and do battle with a one handed, child-sized robot maid cum supersoldier in blue spandex who canÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂt duck.
Accuracy:IÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂve never been to Tokyo, so I canÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂt really speak to the accuracy of Mega ManÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs endless ladder towers and fan-powered clouds swarmed by flying teeth. Judging by some of the pictures IÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂve seen online and my fathomless cultural ignorance, IÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂd believe it. But a robot that canÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂt duck? Are you kidding me? Even Aibos can kind of hunker down, and theyÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂre barely on the teetering edge of the uncanny valley. If thereÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs one thing we can be sure of, itÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs that the Japanese wouldnÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂt let a robot supersoldier step foot out the factory door without six hands, an equal number of depleted uranium-spitting miniguns, and an integrated all-region Toshiba DVD player.
When not taking people too seriously, Michael is head writer for and co-founder of Those Aren't Muskets!